EA SPORTS Madden 13 Senior Designer Josh Looman took the stage at ADEA'ss press event to tell us something very profound:
Franchise mode is dead. Online franchise mode is dead. Superstar mode is dead. It's really the first true sports RPG.
For the first time in four years, I am actually excited about Madden and, for the first time in three years, it may end up in my game collection. How? From the presentation, to the gameplay, to the mechanics, to the audio, to Madden's new Connected Careers, Ultimate Team rehaul and Madden Social, this year's football franchise could be the best one yet.
We have the details and video after the break.
EA SPORTS says Madden 13 has revamped the presentation yet again to deliver new front end graphics, better and smoother transitions, a live ticker and have exponentially fixed usability. I am usually one of the first people to say that the graphics only cover up the hideous gameplay that lies beneath it. It's easier to add a new icon than it is to fix the broken tackles and animations.
However the gameplay was also redone in a way that makes me feel like the Madden team has just restarted the franchise from scratch. New passing, better play action and for the first time since Madden 06, an improved read and react defensive AI engine that will actually react like they should. No more lead feet! Gameplay is also enhanced for the 360 players with Kinect, where users can use their voice to snap the ball, change plays, substitute players and totally control your offense or defense without having to head to a meu.
The key thing that powers all of that is their new Infinity Engine, which lets gamers feel like what they do actually matters in the game. No more scripted outcomes in the game because you can now break tackles, use momentum and actual physics to make sure you remain in control of your player and team. What a concept! The Infinity Engine delivers real player impact with realistic momentum transfer, in what is said to make sure "no two plays ever look or feel the same."
In order for a game to be good, though, it also needs great audio. The past few years have been lackluster for Madden in terms of commentary. Ever since '07 it felt like they lost their "voice" of the game and we saw recycled lines of years past, redundancy and even some no-name local radio guys calling the shots. For this year, CBS struck a deal with the franchise as they brought in Hall of Fame former New York Giants Quarterback Phil Simms and Jim Nantz. Both of those men currently do the CBS national broadcasts on Sundays and what this means is now the Madden team has completely reworked the audio because none of the voices are the same from years ago. No more reused lines! NFL Films also helps out the effort with new QB cadences, authentic on-field sounds and communications and a brand new fully-orchestrated soundtrack. This is great news to literally hear.
Are new features more your thing? Then "Live the NFL dream" and play Connected Careers, Madden's new interacive and social experience all online. Build your player or take over an established legend (like John Madden) and start your mega franchise as a coach, NFL player or yourself. From the web, mobile or console, manage your team the way you want, all while NFL analysts and professional critique your every move and let you know in real-time if the decisions you are making are the right ones.
It wouldn't be an EA SPORTS game if social wasn't included this year, though. Madden Social is something a little different as it is a stand-alone game aside from Madden 13. Using Facebook or iOS, this free-to-play game lets you play cross-platform like never before. While it doesn't have the same engine or graphical power as the big brother version, Social should provide hours of fun for those who want a simple and easy Madden game that can just be picked up and played. It's the first time I feel EA SPORTS realized that while hardcore and casual gamers may want to play the same game, you don't have to mash it all together in one title and hope for the best.
At the end of the day, I am thrilled to see the franchise hit the restart button and try again on this. It's FUN again and I can't stress that enough. August can't come soon enough and as soon as the updates for Madden Ultimate Team hit, I'll be sure to bring you news on that and everything else Madden as we get closer to the release date.